Hear the phrase “Army Green,” and a dull olive shade of uniform comes to mind, or perhaps the Army’s Green to Gold program for service members to get a college degree.
But military bases are earning the “green” title for another reason — many are doing their part to preserve and protect the environment.
“Army bases, quite often, are the only green space left in the city environment,” said Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, on the Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Emily Kopp. “So, what happens as the city moves in and residential neighborhoods are developed, is we see a migration of species onto the base.”
Hammack said more than 200 endangered species live primarily on Army bases nationwide.
Fort Hood also recycled more than 16,000 tons of trash in 2013. The efforts generated $3 million in revenue, which went to support the recycling program, as well as soldiers and families living on the base.
“Many of our bases have great composting programs,” Hammack said. “When you compost all that food waste and some of the other landscaping waste together, you’re generating a great fertilizer that can be reused back on the base.”
The Army uses a “Net Zero” waste program. The goal is to compost and recycle as much as possible, in order to reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfills.
“It is really a holistic program to manage energy, manage water and manage waste on our installations, so that we are in harmony with the limited resources that are available,” Hammack said.
The industrial sustainability award winner, Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Missouri, not only recycles food waste, land waste and water, but also scrap metal.
The plant is producing lead-free bullets. To date, the plant has eliminated 1,600 tons of lead from their manufacturing processes.
“One thing these bases all have in common is, they’re balancing compliance with various legislative and regulatory requirements, with environmental protection, natural resource stewardship and innovative management against the Army and military mission,” Hammack said. “If we keep everything in the right balance, then we have success.”